University Area Historic District
Architect A. J. Gibson—best known locally for his work on the Missoula Courthouse—designed this fashionable residence at the height of Queen Anne style. Built on two lots sometime before 1902, its defining features include an irregular roofline, asymmetrical façade, wooden turret, elegant front porch, and delicate spindlework. Gibson designed several other University District homes, including a neighboring Queen Anne at 206 South Fifth Street East. Fifth Street neighbors met in 1903 to initiate a landscaping plan, which included planting the Norway maples that still shade the block. Real estate speculation may have been the motive for this home’s construction at the start of a building boom that transformed this neighborhood into a well-to-do enclave. No evidence exists that its owner, builder and general contractor George Dildine, was ever in residence. Sold frequently in the early years, it was home to Northern Pacific Railroad engineer John Mason and his wife Martha in the 1920s and 1930s. Converted into a rooming house during the Depression, its condition deteriorated, but the residence has since been lovingly restored.